2016 Mazda CX-5 Review

November 18, 2015
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2016 Mazda CX-5  Review

Not every choice in life makes sense. In fact, I’d wager most choices we human beings make are met with a WTF or oops soon after the fact. There are those of us who like to take risks more often than others, however, when it comes to a purchase as large as a home or vehicle, you’re best to not leave the transaction feeling and looking like the wide-eyed Emoji.

Enter the 2016 Mazda CX-5. 

Since we’re on the subject of smiley faces, if the CX-5 were to wear one it would be the super-cheerful one with the rosy cheeks. And let’s point out the fact that Mazdas (thankfully) no longer sport the insane-asylum grin they did a few years ago… but I digress.

If it’s a practical, safe, makes-sense kind of purchase you’re after, then you’d best look no further than the 2016 Mazda CX-5. This is a no-risk, worry-free kind of deal, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s what makes the CX-5 so attractive on the market. Here is a vehicle that truly checks all the proverbial boxes and does so looking good and driving well.

KODO goodness Since Mazda began implementing its KODO design a few years ago, their vehicles have emerged fresh-faced, modern, and attractive. From the brand new (and might I add, downright sexy) ND MX-5 that my esteemed(ish) colleague, Matt St-Pierre recently drove to the new Mazda3 and the soon-to-be-launched Mazda2, each and every one of them has a distinct look that’s aesthetically pleasing in all the right ways. And the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is no different.

Sure, it’s a crossover, but the proportions are all right and they are spot on.

Step inside the 2016 Mazda CX-5 and those good proportions carry on. With everything perfectly at hand and easy to use, the driver’s seat of the CX-5 is a very good place to be. Equipped with Mazda’s brand new HMI system that puts you in control via a knob near the handbrake (a la iDrive, and well everyone else too it would seem). The system is easy to use and navigate and offers plenty in terms of entertainment options and an easy-to-use navigation system. Pairing a phone is still a pain, but once it’s done Bluetooth is instantly recognized and you’re good to go.


Space in the front is adequate as is the space in the rear. With 966 liters of cargo space behind the back seats, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is the deal small-family vehicle. I was never wanton for space throughout the week, and my son had plenty of room in the rear seat to swing his legs without hitting the front passenger’s seat (even when someone was comfortably seated). It is deceivingly large in there.

Now, about that drive Oh, SKYACTIV, how wonderful you are. As my tester was a 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT, it was equipped with the larger of the two available engines: a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L 4-cylinder. Good for 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque (in both AWD and FWD guise), the CX-5 offers plenty of get-up-and-go behind the wheel.

While there is a 6-speed manual available, the GT is only available with a 6-speed automatic. But I wasn’t disappointed in the auto’s performance. It was spritely and well geared. Not once did the transmission struggle to find the right gear. From hard accelerations for merging to stop-and-go traffic, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT handled it all with ease and offered up a smooth and refined ride.

Handling is as you would expect to form a crossover. While on point and somewhat connected, there is still a feeling of floatiness, but that could also have something to do with the tires of course.

Luxury for the masses Interestingly enough, I went from a Porsche Cayenne into the 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT and it didn’t feel like a huge step-down. Now, hear me out here. I’m not saying the CX-5 is comparable, but what I am saying is that the build quality, materials used, ride, and performance aren’t so shockingly different from a higher-end brand. I didn’t feel like I was “slumming it” in the CX-5. Quite the contrary.

And so, if I were in such a position as to want a second vehicle when I already owned a Land Rover, BMW, Porsche, or Audi, and I didn’t feel like spending a fortune again, I’d most definitely look to the 2016 Mazda CX-5 (which starts at just $22,995 for the base model).

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT pictures



The entire lineup of Mazda SUVs has a fairly stellar reputation. The CX-5 is a compact crossover with a lot of positives to brag about. At the same time, there are a few obvious areas that it could improve in, mostly involving the amount of space inside.

  • Fun Turbocharged Engine Available
  • Sophisticated and Upscale Cabin
  • Strong List of Standard Features
  •  Engaging to Drive
  • Standard 10.25-inch Touchscreen
  •  Low Towing Capacity
  • Below Average Cargo Capacity
  • Cramped Rear Legroom
  • Standard Engine Lacks Wow Factor
  • No Hybrid Powertrain Option


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